Water Docs @ School Action Projects

Water Docs @ School is an exciting complementary program to the Water Docs Film Festival programming. It promotes student exploration and understanding of local water issues and the power of storytelling in documentary films. The program focuses on grade 8, because of the Ontario curriculum focus on water in that year. Watch this video to hear about the experience of two of the teachers who took part this year.

Do you know an 8th grade teacher who might want to take part? For information, please contact bob.isenberger@ecologos.ca or 416-963-4435.
Click to see the winning documentary and action project from the March 2015 festival. To see details of a winning project from 2014, see the Kids Against Road Salt project.
At the 2015 Student Recognition Day, sixeen-year-old Robyn Hamlyn spoke eloquently to nine 8th-grade classes  She is an inspiring speaker about her experience as a water activist since 7th grade. See her Water Warriors website. The students had questions … one asked how she gets adults to listen, and she had lots to tell them …
Robyn Hamlyn of waterwarriors.ca

The curriculum enables students to protect the Great Lakes and watershed ecosystems in Ontario through inquiry-based, hands-on learning, action projects, and documentary filmmaking.

  1. Lesson Plans: Study units rooted in cross-disciplinary lesson plans created by Learning for a Sustainable Future, which provide students with an understanding of the concept of watersheds and their impact on local water issues, the interconnection between humans and the environment, and the fundamental concept of sustainability.
  2. Action Project: Inspired by a discussion with the Water Brothers, students select, plan and execute their own action projects. They select a local water issue that is meaningful to them and engage in action to address it. Students are encouraged to engage other peers, teachers and local community members in their projects, as well as involving their families in at least one water conservation measure at home. Teachers are also provided with LSF’s Engaging Students in Successful Action Projects Guide (ESSAP Guide) and the How-To Media Guide to help them maximize the effectiveness of the students’ efforts.
  3. Filmmaking: Of course, the Water Docs Film Festival exists because we believe in the power of story-telling through film to facilitate change. Students have been asked to capture their action projects by creating a short documentary about the issue and the actions they took to address it. Participating classes are invited to attend the Water Docs @ School Recognition Day at the Bloor Hot Docs cinema. The winning documentaries and a compilation of extracts from the others are screened and everyone celebrates their achievements.

Goals of the Water Docs @ School program:

  • To teach the provincial curriculum expectations through inquiry-based, hands-on study of watersheds
  • To provide action experiences that cultivate the attitudes, knowledge and skills necessary for students to take action in the future
  • To inspire students to be agents of change and stewards of water in their local community and beyond

Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF) is a Canadian charitable organization founded in 1991 to promote, through education, the knowledge, skills, values, perspectives, and practices essential for a sustainable future. Working with business, governments, school boards, universities, communities, educators, and youth, LSF’s innovative programs and strategic partnerships are reshaping education policy and transforming learning methods. In 2013, LSF engaged over 275,000 Canadians through their workshops, access to 1,000 peer-reviewed, curriculum-matched lesson resources on its Resources for Rethinking database, and student funding for sustainability action projects. LSF is the supporting partner for Water Docs @ School.

Award for best documentary Award for best project 2014 Student award winners 2014